Monday, May 28, 2012

Book Review ~ Great for God: Missionaries who Changed the World

In Great for God: Missionaries who Changed the World, David Shibley chronicles the lives of  twenty-three Christian missionaries. "The subjects of this book were visionary, motivated, and imperfect. They sought great things- but not for themselves. They were great for God" (p.10).

The missionaries detailed in Great for God are: Rowland Victor Bingham, William R. (Bill) Bright, William Carey, Amy Carmichael, Jim Elliot, Charles E. Fuller, H.B. Garlock, Adoniram Judson, Eric Liddell, Paul E. Little, David Livingstone, Lottie Moon, John R. Mott, Bob Pierce, Warren Shibley, Mary Slessor, Oswald J. Smith, C. T. Studd, Hudson Taylor, William Cameron Townsend, Dawson Trotman, Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, and Samuel Zwemer.

Each chapter begins with an informational box containing the featured missionary's name, the year and place of  birth, year and place of death, a paragraph stating their legacy and a quote from the highlighted servant. In 144 pages, Shibley beautifully describes how their lives, full of faith and courage, made a difference in the Great Commission.

Quite a few of the missionaries' stories were familiar, but the author gives a moving and fresh perspective.Who can read Jim Elliot's legacy and not be touched? Some I had never heard before, like the incredible account of H.B. Garlock's service to Christ in western Africa~ simply amazing.

What a joy it has been to read the historical account of so many great men and women. Shibley has provided remarkable examples of faith, encouragement and wisdom through their lives. The author challenges that after reading these biographies we will be compelled to to make a decision: "Will you consign yourself to a little life or will you be great for God?" (p.13).

This book shows by example that one does not need to be perfect to serve God's purpose in their lives - to make a difference larger than themselves and their imperfections. None are perfect, but all can serve.

 "It only takes one courageous life in Christ to bring hope to millions! It could be yours." 
                                                                                                              ~New Leaf Publishing website

(According to Shibley, this book has been written for individual reading, for Bible Studies, for classrooms, and as a read aloud family devotion.)


(I was given the Kindle version of Great for God: Missionaries who Changed the World to read in exchange for my honest review.)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Our Week in Pictures

A quick 2 week catch up ~ remember, we are officially on break!!

C8 and R6 had their gymnastics end of year show! (I posted 130ish pictures on fb.) Here's a couple highlights.

Last Wednesday, we were invited to a homeschooling friend's house (along with another family) for story time, an activity and a picnic.  My friend's father works in the library system and volunteers for story time in each grandchild's classroom once, in second grade. (He has close to 20 grandchildren.) He read three giant books and after the third wonderful book, Pumpkin Pumpkin
he set up a seed planting station and each child planted their very own pumpkin seeds. (Ours have grown and are ready for the garden!!) Afterwards, we enjoyed a nice picnic with our friends.

Later that week, my mom visited unexpectedly! She stayed a couple of days and we took the kids to their first rodeo! The booklet given at the ticket stand had full page explanations of each competition event which was useful because I'm not rodeo savvy.  Each little one picked out their very own cowboy/girl hat and each rode a pony before the show was over. It was a fun night and I'm glad we got to share it with my mom.

 The next week, we attended the last homeschool day of the year at our local nature center. We learned about solar energy and made a solar oven and baked our very own S'mores! ~We saw a poison ivy plant up close and fed the huge fish in their pond!

On our way to the nature center, my sister called. She told me that her husband's flight from Iraq into AL had been delayed at the ATL connection and he would be staying overnight. ~She planned to drive up with their three year old and surprise him! (It was also their wedding anniversary!) Yay!! We got to spend nearly five hours playing with my little niece while Aunt Bee surprised her husband at the airport and enjoyed a nice anniversary dinner out!

this bus comfortably fit all eight of us
the baby zebra was super friendly

The next morning, we ALL decided to take a trip to Wild Animal Safari. All eight of us rode a zebra bus, with Uncle J driving, ~since he's a black hawk pilot we felt he was the most qualified for the job~ and fed the wild animals! It was so much fun!

The next day, while J4 and I were grocery shopping, R6 told his daddy that he wanted to get a pot and flower seeds for me because he loves me so much and I do so much for him. ~ melt my heart!
R6 picked out the blue pot and Chamomile seeds so that we can make tea. C8 picked out the brown pot and the beautiful Gaillardias ~ Burpee brand-an exercise she hears me talking about. It's a toughie.

We ended our week with a family trip to Stone Mountain. C8 discovered Kaya, An American Girl series the night before and finished the second book on the drive up. Daddy took C8 and R6 on the Sky Hike while I watched J4 complete the smaller Sky Hike obstacle course and zip line. After that, we watched a glass blower make a vase, enjoyed southern cooking at Miss Katy's, played goofy golf ~ Ryan made two hole in ones!! We watched a short 4D Yogi movie, played in the new Geyser Towers (bring a swimming suit) and explored the 4 story Great Barn with air guns and super slides~yes, I did go down the super slide and it was FUN! And as if we hadn't done enough, the kids wanted to hike to the top of Stone Mountain. It was a very hot day, so we loaded up on the cold water and up we began. We made it to the top and all three got their 'I made it' certificates from the park ranger~their second! J4, although he loved the hike up, was pretty tired, a little cranky and very hot. Daddy and I decided it would be best for J4 and I to take the next (and last for the day) Skyride to the bottom of the mountain. R6 thought that was a fun idea and wanted to try it with us. Daddy and C8 had a 15 minute head start. C8 was determined to make it to the bottom before us! AND  they made it down in just under 20 minutes!! WOW!!



Saturday, May 12, 2012

Reuniting a Fledgling and Mother

 This afternoon, C8 heard chirping sounds in our garage. The little sparrow above had somehow managed to wedge himself between a window and the blinds. We pulled the blinds to the top of the window and the little thing just hopped around on the ledge and kept flying into the glass. R6 came to the rescue and gently picked the baby up.

R6 sat him on the driveway. He attempted flight, but only managed a couple of feet. He didn't appear hurt, though. Some little fledglings may not be strong fliers we later learned. ~I called a local nature center and their advice was to place the little bird outside the garage because the mother would be looking for him near where he was last seen. We were amazed to learn this fact!

We were sure the little one had been without food and water for at least 12 hours. (Unless he found something in the garage to eat.) So we sat bird seed and a tiny puddle of water in front of him. He didn't eat, but we felt better knowing it was there.

 Next, we decided we needed to help the fledgling's parents find their baby. It's very important because parents continue feeding their little ones and teaching them things they need to know for a while after leaving the nest. So, C8 came up with a plan. She  began to chirp like a sparrow. Soon, we heard her chirps returned! (She's an excellent imitator.) We then opened up an app on the iPhone, iBird Yard Plus  (which by the way is on sale for .99!) I found a few Song Sparrow calls and began to play them. Within a minute a Song Sparrow landed within 15 feet of the baby, but the grown-up didn't see him!

We then moved the baby to the grass and placed the birdseed in front of him once again. This time, he hopped a few steps and began to nibble at the seeds! A few minutes later, the baby began chirping and an amazing thing happened! The mother found its baby! It was such a beautiful moment to witness! They hoped around the yard together and then disappeared into the hedges. It was such a wonderful feeling to know the fledgling would be taken care of...

 Once inside, C8 decided to journal the experience. She devoted three pages in her nature notebook to tell the wonderful story of how the fledgling was reunited with its parent! The kids couldn't stop talking about their experience!

~ And just before bedtime, R6 lost his third tooth! All three that he's lost have been on the bottom. He's such a cutie!!


29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[b] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 
Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Guest Post and GA Aquarium

It's been an exciting few days! I had the honor of being invited to guest post on my dear friend Mary's blog, Homegrown Learners! I blogged about how we tackle one of our favorite subjects, Nature Study. The article was published today and you can read it here. Mary is beginning a Wednesday Homeschool Guest series. I am looking forward to reading all the Homeschool Guest articles! I love hearing how others incorporate learning in their homeschool.


 We set out this morning on an oceans, rivers, swamps and colorful frogs adventure with our long time friends Lara, Mr. T and baby! We spent the whole day at the Georgia Aquaruim. We explored every nook and cranny the aquarium had to offer. Our grand finale was Dolphin Tales. We sat down front in the splash zone; my kids always hope for a good soaking. I wish we were allowed to take pictures inside the aquarium because 2 year old Mr. T (although seriously exhausted) had the biggest grin through the whole production! It was so cute.

Here is a look at our field trip in a just  few pictures.

The albino alligators (and alligators in general) are always a favorite.

The poison dart frogs have been favorites for all three children for a very long time. It's wonderful to get to see so many of them in person. There is also a display of how the Chocó Indians use blow guns to shoot poison darts for hunting game.

Touch pools are always a great learning center. The staff is very knowledgeable and eager to share with the kids and answer questions. Once we witnessed a sea urchin spawn ~ now that was cool!!

We are pretty sure this is the expecting beluga whale. You can read about her here.
Hi there, Mr. Sea Star!  It is not very often we get an underneath view of the mouth and all those tube feet!

Our little learning crew watching the dolphins swim through the hoops.

Now that the kids have each picked their favorite aquarium animals from this trip, we will be off to the library tomorrow. After our research (about two weeks) we will revisit our favorites once more at the aquarium.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

J4's End of the Year Kindergym Skills Show

J4 began preschool gymnastics this fall. He completed his first end of the year Kindergym show this morning. He rotated through roughly 20 stations and preformed super cool skills at each one! We are so proud of our little buddy! Here are a few pictures of his time in the spotlight!

With Coach T. (C8's favorite gymnastics coach!)  J4 is completing his bear crawl on the parallel bars! R6 is cheering on his little brother!

Great balance little one! (He's wearing a shirt bought at the Valley of Fire State Park in NV last fall~great memories!)

Owner, Coach C awarding J4 his medal!



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Spring is Here!

Spring has certainly arrived. There is hardly a moment when our bird feeders are empty. We have had the privilege of watching Robins raise a family high in a pine tree. We watched the courting of our Bluebird mother and father; it was so sweet. The male found an insect in the grass, then flew to the same branch where the female was perched. He offered his meal and she accepted. That adorable couple now has five nestlings of their own ready to fledge any day now.  We also have a family of Chickadees. The four nestlings are a week old and absolutely precious. Here is a video taken only an hour ago. You'll hear the Chickadee nestlings and my little nestlings in the video.

 We have counted 20 different types of birds in our backyard and at the feeders. Our children are becoming great bird detectives and are getting good at identification, too. A great find two years ago was a free resource from Wild Birds Unlimited. They gave us a brochure sized handout of common eastern US birds on one side and common western birds on the other. This winter, in addition to a small bag of birdseed, Wild Birds Unlimited gave copies of the same handout, but poster sized, to each of my Nature Detective co-op students. What a generous heart they have! ~ It is always a learning experience when we enter their store.

We are also enjoying a Finch family consistently coming together to eat at our window feeder, which I snapped a picture of this morning.

I am sure I've said this before...I do hope you take the time to go outside and enjoy nature for yourself, for your children, for your heart and for your mind. God's creation is amazing and meant for our enjoyment, too...


 I am so appreciative to our new friends. Thank you so much for taking the time follow. 
A big, big thank you to Mary @ Homegrown Learners.